Jehoshaphat: Success in Two Simple Steps — Post by Mary C. Findley

View of Jerusalem from the Valley of Jehoshaphat by Auguste Forbin,  Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

View of Jerusalem from the Valley of Jehoshaphat by Auguste Forbin, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

After this, King Jehoshaphat of Judah returned safely to his palace in Jerusalem, where Hanani’s son Jehu, the seer, went out to meet him. He asked king Jehoshaphat, “Should you be helping those who are wicked, yes or no? Should you love those who hate the LORD? Wrath is headed your way directly from the LORD because of this.  Nevertheless, a few good things have been found in you, in that you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have disciplined yourself to seek God.” Jehoshaphat continued to live in Jerusalem, but he travelled again throughout the people from Beer-sheba to Mount Ephraim, bringing them back to the LORD God of their ancestors and appointing judges throughout the land in all of the walled cities of Judah, city by city. He issued this reminder to the judges: “Pay careful attention to your duties, because you are judging not only for the sake of human beings but also for the LORD—and he is present with you as you make your rulings. So let the fear of the LORD rest upon you, be on your guard, and act carefully, because with the LORD our God there is neither injustice, nor partiality, nor bribery.”  (2 Chronicles 19:1-7, ISV)

The context of these verses is the time following Jehoshaphat’s alliance with King Ahab. Ahab was, by and large, a wicked king. Jehoshaphat was, by and large, a good king. Jehoshaphat almost got himself killed for that alliance. God reminded him of the dangers of hanging out with bad guys. Today many voices clamor that America was, by and large, a good nation, but now we have been “helping the wicked” and loving “those who hate the Lord.” Wrath is headed our way as surely as it was for Jehoshaphat.

Many men in the past have gotten angry when the Lord sent a warning. Ever since the time of Cain men have been lashing out when God corrected them. But look what Jehoshaphat did in response. He traveled again throughout the people from Beer-sheba to Mount Ephraim, bringing them back to the LORD God of their ancestors. He also appointed judges, since he couldn’t be everywhere and do everything himself, and he told them, “Pay careful attention to your duties, because you are judging not only for the sake of human beings but also for the LORD—and he is present with you as you make your rulings. So let the fear of the LORD rest upon you, be on your guard, and act carefully, because with the LORD our God there is neither injustice, nor partiality, nor bribery.” 

Look again at his admonition to the judges. What causes men to be unjust, partial, or to take bribes? Selfishness, in a nutshell. What is selfishness? It’s the worship of self. So here’s something you can take away from the story of this good king.  Don’t be selfish, and remember God’s right there watching.

Jehoshaphat earned a commendation from God. The prophet who reprimanded him said, “A few good things have been found in you, in that you have removed the Asheroth from the land and you have disciplined yourself to seek God.”

So, the secret to Jehoshaphat’s success was a simple, two-part formula. 1. Get rid of the idols. 2. Discipline yourself to seek the Lord. Neither one of these is easy. But both of them are  simple.

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Confession — Post by Michael J. Findley

1280px-Second_Temple

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 NASB)

“If we” is a conditional statement. There is a requirement on our part. “We”, those who put their faith and trust in Jesus the Messiah, must make a decision.
“Confess” means to say the same. Confession is not just an acknowledgement of sin, making a list of our sins, but it means to change our attitude. To confess means to say the same thing that God says, to have the same attitude towards sin that God has. It means more than simply understanding the Old Testament Law and the Prophets. It means accepting and agreeing with God’s point of view, what God taught about the Law through the Prophets. It includes the understanding that sin must be atoned for, individual sins as well as our sin nature.

“He is faithful and righteous.” God is always faithful, even when we are faithless. The difference is that His standards are righteous. God in holy and just. He must judge sin in righteousness.

“Forgive us our sins.” Jesus taught us in the model prayer, sometimes called the Lord’s Prayer, to pray And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. Luke 11:4

This is teaching us that our confession of sin will allow, permit the God of love to apply the covering for sin which He has already provided to our sins. This covering for sin is known as atonement. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for those who put their trust in Him. It means to put the sin as far away as the East is from the West.

“And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” An atonement for our sins is essential. But in addition to atoning for our sins, God is changing us, making us new creations. This process includes cleansing us from sin. He changes our desires, what we want. He is cleansing our character. He is not simply covering sin, which must be done, but he is removing sin from our very being.

The ISV translates the first phrase. make it our habit to confess our sins. Applying the atonement takes place once, the new birth. But cleansing, becoming Christlike, is a process. Every time we yield to temptation we loss a battle.

Our entire spiritual warfare here on earth is an endless series of decisions to accept or reject the direction of God’s Holy Spirit as given to us in His Word. God is faithful and righteous.

Are we making it a habit to allow the Spirit of God to control us?

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Charity — Post by Michael J. Findley

poor box bkgrd
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (I Corinthians 13: 13)

I would like to give you a million dollars to help people. The only stipulation is that you cannot spend the money on yourself or your friends. What would you do with it?

Before we go any further, I do not have a million dollars to give to anyone, so this is all hypothetical. But I seriously want people to think about this issue.
The average person, perhaps everyone, has a list of people with needs in mind right now and ways to help them. That is very good. I have two reasons for writing this blog. The first reason is to help us grasp God’s concept of a gift and giving. Obviously, just giving someone money is not always the best solution. How much? What strings are attached? To what purpose? These are all important questions.

And priorities are important. When we give one person ten thousand dollars, that money is gone. Someone else might need it, but we cannot give that same ten thousand dollars again. It is gone.

So wouldn’t it be better to have two million or three million instead of just one million? Or maybe ten million? Of course, you are thinking, “What a foolish question.” However, we live in a world where that is possible.

The answer is investing. God actually commands us to invest. Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But keep on storing up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal, because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 ISV)

But the Word of God also says, But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (I John 3:17)

So now you are in a position of having one million dollars to use in the best way possible. Under US law we have trust funds. Many other counties have similar legal options, though they use different terms.

A trust fund works on averages. The average return on investment is down now and has been for years. But an average of 7% annually worked very well for the Reagan, (George H. W.) Bush, Clinton, and (George W.) Bush presidency years.

Option one: You choose not to invest the entire amount, but put the money into a savings account and give out $100,000 per year. In about twelve years the entire amount will be gone.

Option two: You give the entire amount away the first year and you have nothing left to help anyone in the future.

Option three: You invest the entire amount. You have nothing to give out the first year. At the end of the first year your million dollars returns $70,000. One percent ($10,000) is needed to pay fees to keep the fund in existence. In the real world, one million dollars is too small of an amount to set up as its own fund and will need to be combined with several other small funds. But just as an example, this is how it will work. One percent ($10,000) must go back into the fund to cover the cost of inflation. This is not a fixed amount, but varies from year to year depending on the inflation rate. This allows for the fund to be of same value from one year to the next even though inflation decreases the overall value of the fund.

The remaining five percent ($50,000) is available to distribute as charity. Not accounting for inflation, at the end of ten years the trust fund has given away half a million dollars, but the entire principle of one million dollars is still available. At the end of thirty years, you have given away $1.5 million dollars, not accounting for inflation, and you still have the entire principle, $1,000,000.

It’s your decision.

The same principles work with savings as well.

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What Did Scalia Say and Why Did He Say It?

scalia

“The United States Supreme Court has held that secular humanism is a religion. Belief in evolution is a central tenet of that religion.” Antonin Scalia, in the case Edwards v. Aguillard, U.S. Supreme Court, 1987

This is one of the most hated, denied, and attacked statements on our entire blog. We used it in our book Antidisestablishmentarianism in the section “What Is Secular Humanism?” Both are available on Amazon for those interested in the context we provided. For those not interested in reading our book to find out the full context, this blog is a brief explanation of why this statement by Justice Scalia is an accurate statement.
http://www.amazon.com/Antidisestablishmentarianism-Michael-Findley-ebook/dp/B0040V4DOE
http://www.amazon.com/Secular-Humanism-Antidisestablishmentarianism-Serial-Version-ebook/dp/B0087GA7TI

First, here is a link to the entire case Edwards v Aguillard. It is available many places. This is just one possibility. It is large and requires a lot of bandwidth.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/482/578#writing-USSC_CR_0482_0578_ZD

Second, Justice Scalia wrote a dissenting opinion in this case. If you understand how the SCOTUS works, you will understand that this quote is in the background section of his decision. This is not, in and of itself, either Justice Scalia’s ruling or an opinion. He is simply stating historical background.

Third, Justice Scalia took notes on testimony of Senator Keith. These may or may not be the exact words of Senator Keith. They might be the words of another witness or they might simply be the words of Justice Scalia. They are the notes of Justice Scalia which Justice Scalia entered into the official record. This notes section begins with the following words: “Senator Keith and his witnesses testified essentially as set forth in the following numbered paragraphs:” I have no doubt that both Senator Keith and Justice Scalia believe these words.

Fourth, here is the paragraph in full so that the reader may understand the complete context.
“(5) The censorship of creation science has at least two harmful effects. First, it deprives students of knowledge of one of the two scientific explanations for the origin of life, and leads them to believe that evolution is proven fact; thus, their education suffers, and they are wrongly taught that science has proved their religious beliefs false. Second, it violates the Establishment Clause. The United States Supreme Court has held that secular humanism is a religion. Id. at E-36 (Sen. Keith) (referring to Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495, n. 11 (1961));1 App. E-418 (Sen. Keith); 2 id. at E-499 (Sen. Keith). Belief in evolution is a central tenet of that religion. 1 id. at E-282 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-312 – E-313 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-317 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-418 (Sen. Keith); 2 id. at E-499 (Sen. Keith). Thus, by censoring creation science and instructing students that evolution is fact, public school teachers are now advancing religion in violation of the Establishment Clause. 1 id. at E-2 – E-4 [p625] (Sen. Keith); id. at E-36 – E-37, E-39 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-154 – E-155 (Boudreaux paper); id. at E-281 – E-282 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-313 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-315 – E-316 (Sen. Keith); id. at E-317 (Sen. Keith); 2 id. at E-499 – E-500 (Sen. Keith).”
Emphasis added.

Fifth, Here is the Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 US 488 – Supreme Court 1961 case which was referenced by Justice Scalia.
It reads in part:
“The appellant Torcaso was appointed to the office of Notary Public by the Governor of Maryland but was refused a commission to serve because he would not declare his belief in God. He then brought this action in a Maryland Circuit Court to compel issuance of his commission, charging that the State’s requirement that he declare this belief violated “the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States . . . .”[1] The Circuit Court rejected these federal constitutional contentions, and the highest court of the State, the Court of Appeals, affirmed…”

The important part is the last words of this next paragraph:
“Appellant also claimed that the State’s test oath requirement violates the provision of Art. VI of the Federal Constitution that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Because we are reversing the judgment on other grounds…” (Emphasis added)

You may look up the case for yourself, but the important part is that SCOTUS did not rule on the basis of “no religious test” but instead found Secular Humanism (not using those exact words) to be a religion.

Here is the exact wording of the 1961 ruling;
“This Maryland religious test for public office unconstitutionally invades the appellant’s freedom of belief and religion and therefore cannot be enforced against him.”
The exact words of SCOTUS;
a refusal to “declare his belief in God” is “the appellant’s freedom of belief and religion.”
Torcaso v. Watkins,367 US 488 – Supreme Court 1961
http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=17484916405561277413&q=torcaso+v.+watkins+367+u.s.+488&hl=en&as

Sixth: “”Among religions in this country which do not teach what would generally be considered a belief in the existence of God are Buddhism, Taoism, Ethical Culture, Secular Humanism, and others.” Torcaso v. Watkins, United States Supreme Court, 1961
This is the same case quoted in point five.

Seventh: Justice Black based his comments on the 1957 case of Fellowship of Humanity v. County of Alameda. In this case an organization of humanists sought a tax exemption on the ground that they used their property “solely and exclusively for religious worship.” The court ruled that the activities of Fellowship of Humanity entitled it to an exemption. These activities included weekly Sunday meetings. The Fellowship of Humanity case used the word humanism, not secular humanism.

Eighth: Torcaso v. Watkins is just one of hundreds of cases, most of them on state and local court (magistrate) levels. However, the most remarkable feature is the amount of agreement with Torcaso v. Watkins.

Ninth: Many Secular Humanist organizations have organized as religions and been granted 501c3 (charitable organization), as a religion.
http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations/Exemption-Requirements-Section-501(c)(3)-Organizations
Examples of such organizations are the First Church of Atheism, http://firstchurchofatheism.com/
The American Humanist Association http://americanhumanist.org/
The Church of Reality http://www.churchofreality.org/wisdom/humanism/

There are many other secular organizations with legal religious status with the IRS. Here are a few of the more well known “statements of belief” or creeds or manifestos. These are not recommended reading, but they are easy to find if you so choose.
Humanist Manifesto I, II and III;
A Secular Humanist Declaration by CODESH (Council for Democratic Secular Humanism);
A Secular Humanist Manifesto

To repeat:

“The United States Supreme Court has held that secular humanism is a religion. Belief in evolution is a central tenet of that religion.” Antonin Scalia, in the case Edwards v. Aguillard, U.S. Supreme Court, 1987

As President John Adams said,
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

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Moo Cluck Moo

moo cluck moo graphic
A restaurant in Dearborn, MI, just outside Detroit, with just two locations, has 159,000 google search results. Why? How does a fast food hamburger joint with only two locations, the least expensive combo meal at $7.50 (far more expensive than the competition) and no national advertising budget (not really low, but zero, zip, nada) get this kind of internet buzz?

And these are not just blogs with only twenty readers or just a couple of people chatting with each other. It is praised by MSNBC, The Daily Beast and the Huffington Post. It is also praised by mainline newspapers and restaurant guides which normally shun fast food establishments.

“This Burger Joint Is Raising Its Starting Salary To $15 Per Hour” The Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/10/moo-cluck-moo-wages_n_3899574.html

“Radical Fast Food Joint Doubles Down on High Wages”
The Daily Beast
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/09/09/radical-fast-food-joint-doubles-down-on-high-wages.html

All of this buzz over the salary it pays? Yes. The Huffington Post interviewed Brian Parker, one of the owners. “Parker told HuffPostLive in July that he believes investing in his workers actually benefits his business because the staffers provide better customer service than their colleagues who are working for much less.”
So, the important question is, how does he do it? The business articles are long on praise for paying higher wages, but completely devoid of information on how they do it.

The first and most obvious answer to this puzzle is much higher prices. No dollar menus at Moo Cluck Moo. But their major selling point is all natural food.
http://www.moocluckmoo.com/#!menu/c1a9u

The second part of the answer is much lower overhead. They are not part of a franchise which must support a large corporate office with enormous fees. The owners work in the stores. This reduces the need for additional managers, which reduces the expenses for middle management.

The third and from my point of view the most important point is the owner/operators are willing to put more of their profits back into the business. Anyone who has even one undergraduate economics course understands that shareholders and venture capitalists will not tolerate that.

McDonald’s restaurants made a lot of money in 2013. But not as much as expected. “McDonald’s reported $7.09 billion in fourth quarter revenue, a 2% increase over the same quarter in 2012 but under (Wall) Street predictions of $7.14 billion. Fourth quarter net income came in at $1.4 billion, flat compared to the same time in 2012 but resulting in earnings of $1.40 per share, a penny higher than what analysts were calling for.”
http://www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2014/01/23/mcdonalds-ends-challenging-2013-with-lackluster-earnings/
In the corporate world, the owners of the company are the shareholders, venture capitalists, banks who loaned the money or whoever actually put up the money for the business. And business owners just look at how much money is being made for them. Call these retirees, the people who actually own most stocks, a bunch of Scrooges and Grinches, but this is how the real world works.

And if you don’t like that, support your local owner/operator. That is, if you can find one.

 

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The Scientific Approach — Post by Michael J. Findley


stars

Science is based on evidence.
What existed from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we observed and
touched with our own hands—
this is the Word of life!
1 John 1:1 ISV

That which was (existed) from the beginning (original creation) (my translation)
If an experiment or procedure cannot be repeated, it is not scientific. John begins with the scientific observation that God is stable and trustworthy. He established a stable universe where the physical processes (scientific laws) remain fixed and can be used to make things (technology). This is true since the final day of creation.
“Because I the LORD don’t change; therefore you children of Jacob, aren’t destroyed.” (Malachi 3:6 ISV)
That which we comprehended (with our ears, heard) (my translation)
The words were not only heard, but the content was understood. John perceived the sense of what was said.
That which we perceived with our eyes (my translation)
John not only observed with his eyes, but he understood what he was looking at. He grasped the significance of what he observed and paid heed to it.
That which we gazed upon (my translation)
John viewed attentively, as a public show. John used his sight to examine carefully, paying attention to detail.
That which we have examined by touching (my translation)
John used his hands as instruments to examine and verify by touch what his eyes had seen and his ears heard.
Concerning the Word of Life (my translation)
John’s examination, perception, understanding, and grasp of the facts were about the Word of Life.
Using human language as precisely and clearly as he could, John states that he and rest of disciples heard, saw and touched the resurrected Messiah. They understood who and what they examined and knew that their examination was accurate.
This is a testimony of a scientific event, using scientific terminology. We have only two choices. We can accept it or we can reject it.

 

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Presuppositionalism: The Worship of Deep Time — Post by Michael J. Findley

coa cover for blog

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” John Adams
Here is a brief list of certain facts routinely ignored by Secular Humanists.
1) Secular Humanists worked hard for more than one hundred years for recognition as a religion in the USA. Now they can organize as a 501c3 (charitable organization), as a religion if they so choose.
http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organizations/Exemption-Requirements-Section-501(c)(3)-Organizations
http://firstchurchofatheism.com/
“The United States Supreme Court has held that secular humanism is a religion. Belief in evolution is a central tenet of that religion.” Antonin Scalia, in the case Edwards v. Aguillard, U.S. Supreme Court, 1987
2) Gratuitous Assertions do not prove, validate, or authenticate your point in any way. Just because you choose to believe something does not automatically make that belief true.
3) Most Creationists are not scientists, just like most Secular Humanists are not scientists. But denying that Creation Science is legitimate simply makes the denier a religious bigot. Refusing to look at a creationist site for the sole reason that the information disproves your belief system is the standard definition of religious bigotry.
That is the opposite of reading articles, documenting (not asserting) the errors and assuming that the same editorial process will continue to produce the same errors. I have done this for http://www.talkorigins.org/. One example is included in our book Conflict of the Ages Part Three: The Flood and the Ice Age.
4) There is abundant scientific evidence for a young earth. Gratuitously asserting that the evidence does not exist or that the evidence is false is neither honest nor does it make the evidence go away.
http://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/chapter-fourteen-from-antidisestablishmentarianism-what-does-the-scientific-evidence-prove/
Some examples of this evidence are rapid formation of coal, diamonds, petroleum, petrified wood, and fossils. These are now produced by commercial operations. The modern fossils are of such high quality (so much like geologic fossils) that even National Geographic purchased some modern fossils as geologic fossils.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2001/dinofool.shtml
Even the USGS and the US Parks service admit that evidence points to catastrophic formation of much of earth’s crust. This includes the formation of the Grand Canyon. The only serious disagreement with Creationists is when these catastrophes occurred.
http://www.amazon.com/Earths-Catastrophic-Past-Geology-Creation/dp/0932766943
http://www.nps.gov/grca/photosmultimedia/rangerminute.htm
With honest geologists there is no question about how, but only about when. We simply hold that the many well-documented catastrophes in the earth’s past occurred during or soon after the flood.
5) Galileo, Isaac Newton, Gregor Mendel, and thousands of other scientists were either Christians or believers in Intelligent Design. Throughout history Intelligent Design has been the majority position among scientists. This has only changed in the last half of the twentieth century. When Arabic Muslim scientists are included along with South American and African scientists, Intelligent Design might still be the majority position.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_thinkers_in_science
http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/sciencefaith.html
6) Denying the possibility of a global flood is dishonest. Many of the imagined problems, such as the amount of water and construction of the ark have been answered in detail.
Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study
http://www.amazon.com/Noahs-Ark-A-Feasibility-Study/dp/0932766412
http://worldwideflood.org/ark/safety_aig/safety_aig_comments.htm
Number of animals the ark could hold
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10740451/Noahs-Ark-would-have-floated…even-with-70000-animals.html
Water; how much and where did it come from? And where did it go?
http://www.amazon.com/Earths-Catastrophic-Past-Geology-Creation/dp/0932766943
7) Secularists often mock Creationists for raising their own funds by selling books, DVDs, charging for events, and asking for donations. These same Secular Humanists have no qualms about living off of government-funded schools and research projects. They complain about Creationists raising their own support while at the same time they live off of money taken by force through the police power of the government.
8) The final, and most important point, is a willingness to examine the evidence honestly.

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